If you are pondering whether or not you can launch a writing career and be a mom, today’s tip of the day is for you. Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama, shares these tips for freelance writing from chapter two.
Freelancing teaches you valuable lessons about your business strengths and weaknesses while helping you establish published credits. By practicing some basic journalism skills, you can work your way up the writing ranks and increase your chances of literary success in the short and long run. By freelancing, you will learn about and get used to:
- Partnering with editors and being edited
- Taking assignments and meeting deadlines
- Finding your unique style and voice
- Strengthening your writing craft
- Being self-employed
- Taking pride in doing your best work
If that doesn’t convince you, here are a couple more benefits:
Freelancing reduces mommy mush-mind. One of the most distressing things about being the mother of young children is that your brain often feels like it has turned to mush. Moms spend so much time goo-goo-ga-ga-ing that, when reintroduced to the company of adults, it’s easy to feel like a kid at the grownups’ table. Writing with specific short-term goals in mind is a mental challenge and an outlet for creativity, inspirations, and ideas, which feels especially good when what you hear all day begins with “Hey mommy! Hey mama! Hey mom!” So give your mind an adult-level workout and see how you feel afterward. The opportunity to focus on a goal will help your mind feel sharper, and soon you’ll be back among the articulate!
Freelancing is a mental stress-buster. Writing short articles can help you break up the arduous monotonous tasks that comprise day-to-day life as a mother. Mixing up writing breaks with daily chores can help you focus, take your mind off problems, and even help you work through some of these crises that are bound to crop up when you’re the only adult home all day.
And remember, every writer has to start somewhere. This isn’t the end of the road, it’s just the beginning! Julia Cameron started out as a journalist. Anne Lamott wrote restaurant reviews. Barbara Kingsolver credits journalism with forcing her away from her computer to meet people she would not otherwise see.
Start simple, diversify later. Novelist Jennie Shortridge, author of Eating Heaven and Riding With the Queen, didn’t start out as a novelist; she simply knew that was where she wanted to end up.
Start short, come back to short later. Plenty of writers, having scaled the mountain called Writing a Book, continue to write articles because it provides welcome mental relief (not to mention money) from longer, more arduous projects. Author and freelancer Wendy Burt has published more than five hundred articles, and despite her author status, she still returns to the short stuff to keep herself happily productive. “On any given day I will be working on three or four projects–usually in different genres. If I’ve got a boring business article to edit, I’ll take a break to work on some fun greeting cards or bumper sticker ideas. I’ll go back to editing the business article then ‘reward’ myself by working on a short story or filler,” she says.
Flexibility is good. Show me a group of mom writers at the peak of their careers and I will show you writers who didn’t and don’t balk when it comes to writing nonfiction along with, and often alongside, everything else.
This excerpt is from Writer Mama by Christina Katz. When you read this book, you’ll learn how to:
- Become a writer while raising kids
- Identify your audience
- Gain professional clips through freelance writing
- Overcome procrastination
- Pitch your story or book ideas to editors